YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- One foot after the other, it’s the only way to approach it. Slow and steady the steps add up as obstacles are completed. The rain only getting heavier, the ground muddier, and the logs traversed slicker. The gurney carrying a soaking wet training dummy only adds to the struggle but that is the point. It was a challenge but a challenge meant to be faced by a team. Each setback greeted with a “HUA!” rallying their struggling teammates to push forward until the course was complete.
For the members of the 374th Security Forces Squadron stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan, this was only just their first day of a week’s worth of grueling field training exercises meant to better acclimate them to expeditionary security forces tactics at Camp Fuji, Japan, Nov. 8, 2018.
“What a lot people don’t necessarily know about security forces is that we are not just the law enforcement aspect most people see on a daily basis,” said Staff Sgt. Cody Johnson, 374 SFS NCO in charge of supplies. “Half of our job is combat operations in deployed environments and that is why we have been working on phasing all of our personnel out to Camp Fuji for this training.
“Especially in an environment where we need to stay ready to deploy, we owe it to ourselves to be prepared for when that call does come whether here or at our next duty station.”
While the training focused on experience vital in a deployed environment such as: land navigation, dismounted operations, squad formations, and combat tactics, the exercise also brought with it the opportunity for Airmen experienced and new alike to learn from one another in a more mission oriented setting.
“I personally learned a lot of combative skills and tactics while I was out there,” said Senior Airman Timothy Hunter, 374 SFS vehicle control officer. “The training brought with it an opportunity to not only be a leader but be a follower as well when it comes to accomplishing a mission. For every team that went out there, it all boiled down to the mission and I think younger Airmen were able to learn a lot from their team leads and the leads were able to see what works for the team in terms of leadership methods that work out there.
“The days were hard but we worked as a team to get through them. Our morale was always high and that made everyone want to work harder for each other as well as helped everyone learn quicker so they didn’t let the team down. We really bonded out there.”
As the teams accomplished their missions, the skills they learned and that feeling of comradery didn’t just stay out on the hills at the base of Mt. Fuji, but followed them back home to Yokota.
“The things we accomplished as a team out there were more powerful than anything we could have produced as individuals,” said Johnson. “Almost everyone in our squadron at some point in time over the past few weeks went out there and accomplished the same mission. We all went through the same thing, from the obstacle course, the miles of hiking and the final day of missions that really brought us together back at Yokota. We can look at one another and know what we conquered out there and that’s a great thing. We may have been on different teams at different times before we went out there but now we are truly one team back home and it feels good.”